Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ingram Planetarium

Ah, rain! Friend to everything green and lovely, but what a bummer when it happens all over your Beach Vacation! Fortunately, right in Sunset Beach there is an excellent way to entertain the family while you wait for the rainclouds to clear: Ingram Planetarium!

We visited the Planetarium right when they were putting the final touches in place for their grand re-opening in May. Even though they were still officially closed for renovations the day we stopped by, the staff invited us in to take a look around. Off the main entryway we found the Science Room, filled with interactive exhibits of the planets and stars, lots of hands-on puzzles and experimental exercises, which neither the children (nor the adults, for that matter) can stop themselves from playing with. We played with the Bernoulli's Lift Off exhibit, which allows the kids to explore forces that enable planes to fly; drew fantastic designs with the aid of a pendulum; and raced each other at the water pressure exhibit, where we used high-pressure squirt guns to send our little astronauts to the top first (this kept us busy for a long time).

After spending a few minutes more admiring the contents of the gift shop and chatting with the very friendly staff, we meandered to the cute little cluster of boutiques, just around the corner for a nice alfresco lunch at the Fibber McGees Pub.

Of course, since we were visiting Ingram Planetarium when the facility was officially still closed, we weren't able to try out the newly-renovated 85-seat theater facility, during that trip. But we have heard since that the newly-installed SciDome HD makes this Planetarium one of only three in the world with a system capable of projecting more than 3 million pixels on its skydome. It's called ImmersaVision, and it is going to provide a fantastic show. We can't wait till our next trip to experience it. And when we do, you can bet I'll write all about it on this blog.

To find out more about the Ingram Planetarium's show times and ticket information, you can visit them at www.ingramplanetarium.org